The 2024 Met Gala Explained: Everything We Know About the Theme, Dress Code, and Guests

The dress code is “The Garden of Time.”
Published: February 20, 2024
The 2024 Met Gala explained: Everything we know about the theme, dress code, and guests
(left to right) Zendaya and Hunter Schafer Schiaparelli's spring/summer 2024 show

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Benefit is right around the corner, and this year’s theme has finally been announced. The dress code for the 2024 Met Gala is “The Garden of Time,” celebrating the institute’s new exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” According to Vogue, “The exhibit will feature approximately 250 rare items drawn from the Costume Institutes permanent collection. Spanning over 400 years of fashion history, the pieces will include designs by Schiaparelli, Dior, Givenchy, and more. Some garments that are too fragile to ever be worn again—such as a Charles Frederick Worth ballgown from 1877—will also be displayed via video animation, light projection, AI, CGI, and other forms of sensory stimulation.”

Unlike last year’s event, which featured lots of black-and-white looks, preppy pearls and bows, and cats for the “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” theme, the energy for this year’s gala is more ethereal, soft, whimsical, and, dare we say, coquette.

Ahead, everything we know about the Met Gala so far.

When is the 2024 Met Gala?

This year’s Costume Institute Benefit, a.k.a. the Met Gala, will be taking place on Monday, May 6, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of course. Red carpet footage typically begins at around 6 p.m. EST.

Who are this year’s co-chairs?

On February 15, Zendaya, Bad Bunny, Jennifer Lopez, and Chris Hemsworth were named Anna Wintour’s co-chairs for the 2024 Met Gala.

Honourary chairs are Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.

What is the 2024 Met Gala dress code?

Also on February 15, the theme for this year’s Met Gala was announced as “The Garden of Time,” and Vogue noted that it is important to take the museum’s exhibition into consideration in order to fully understand the dress code. The exhibition is titled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” and contrary to its name, it has nothing to do with Disney princesses. It is instead a celebration of fashion that is so fragile now that it can no longer ever be worn, which is an elegant way of saying very antique clothing. Think Elizabethan-era corsets and dresses with intricate and beautiful designs and cuts: ever admired and studied, but any lasting pieces are far too delicate to be worn, demonstrating “inevitable decay.” The exhibit is broken into three parts: Land, Sea, and Sky.

Vogue also suggested that to be able to appreciate the theme for all that it is, you should familiarize yourself with the short story that inspired it, The Garden of Time by J.G. Ballard (1962). It’s about Count Axel and his wife, the Countess, a happy, loving couple who live alone in a peaceful, deserted utopia. Their balcony overlooks a pristine, almost magical-looking garden.

In the distance, an angry mob approaches their villa, drawing nearer and nearer, and in an effort to save himself and his wife, the Count begins to pluck time flowers, which used to grow in abundance in their garden. With every flower he picks, time goes back further and further. Count picks every last flower until the mob unavoidably reaches the home, with the garden now destroyed.

So, how does this translate into what guests will be wearing to the prestigious event? Per Vogue, it is about “fleeting beauty.” In a more literal translation, guests could show up in florals to play on the “garden” theme in “Garden of Time.” They could also choose pieces that are an ode to nature in general.

We also could see a more whimsical take, with guests wearing wearing more avant-garde looks inspired by tales like Alice in Wonderland or Beauty and the Beast.

Attendees could also lean further into the Elizabethan aspect, dressing in ensembles directly inspired by 16th-century fashion.

Overall, there will likely be more soft and feminine looks, maybe even with hints of edginess. Like a classic fairytale, there is always underlying darkness to all the beauty.

Who’s invited to the 2024 Met Gala and who’s going?

The official guest list hasn’t been revealed yet, but we can make some guesses. We could see Zendaya’s boyfriend Tom Holland, Lopez’s husband Ben Affleck, and Hemsworth’s wife Elsa Pataky show up with their S.O.

Since the TikTok CEO is an honourary chair at this year’s event, it’s also likely that we will see more influencers walk the carpet.

Can anybody go to the Met Gala?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Benefit is quite the elusive event. But even if you’ve managed to climb high enough on the social ladder to snag an invite, you’d have to shell out about $50,000 for a ticket.

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